A “Tesla standard:” NHTSA proposes Automatic Emergency Braking mandate for new vehicles

Credit: Terry橙小曦 via Tesla Asia/Twitter

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new safety standards that would require automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian AEB systems on all new vehicles, regardless of powertrain. Such features have been standard in vehicles like Teslas, and they have contributed to the stellar safety ratings of cars like the Model 3 and Model Y.

AEB systems use various sensor technologies and sub-systems to detect objects in front of the vehicle and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not react in time. Pedestrian AEB systems can detect pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes as needed. The implementation of AEB in vehicles has undoubtedly saved countless lives over the years. 

The NHTSA estimates that the proposed new standards could save about 360 lives and prevent 24,000 injuries each year. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg shared his thoughts on the matter.

“Today, we take an important step forward to save lives and make our roadways safer for all Americans. Just as lifesaving innovations from previous generations like seat belts and airbags have helped improve safety, requiring automatic emergency braking on cars and trucks would keep all of us safer on our roads,” he said in a press release

If successfully passed, automakers would have three years to comply with the NHTSA’s mandate, which should be enough time to roll out the safety feature to new vehicles. As per the NHTSA, its mandate would also “require all cars to be able to stop and avoid contact with a vehicle in front of them up to 62 miles per hour.” 

With this in mind, Tesla’s vehicles would likely remain a cut above the standard when it comes to safety. A recent Tesla update, after all, has raised the automatic braking engagement speed up to 124 mph. The feature also now works in reverse. And considering Tesla’s tendency to continue improving its vehicles, it would not be surprising if the company improves its AEB systems even further in the future. 

The NHTSA’s press release on the proposed AEB mandate can be viewed here.

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Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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